The Chief Exec’s Blog – Corporate Covenant
You signed the Corporate Covenant, what now?
The MOD recently announced the 1,000th UK employer to sign up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. It’s fantastic that so many organisations have committed to supporting our Armed Forces community.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to those who serve or who have served, and their families, which says we will do all we can to ensure they are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives. Organisations can also proactively sign up to the covenant and openly express their support to members of the Armed Forces community.
At Scotty’s Little Soldiers we have benefited first-hand from some of this support. We’ve enjoyed three years of amazing assistance from delivery experts DX who have provided free courier deliveries to beneficiaries, raised staggering amounts of fundraising and introduced the charity to new corporate partners and supporters. We also benefited from a three-year relationship with Tesco’s F&F clothing brand who sold Scotty’s Little Soldiers branded clothing via Tesco.com and donated all the profits to the charity. Both organisations have signed the Covenant and are committed to supporting our Armed Forces Community.
Signing the Covenant is just the first step though. It shows your organization is willing to commit to supporting the community but the hard part comes next. You’ve signed up, now you need to step up.
We’ve been discussing in the office how organisations can make the most of being a part of the Covenant and really maximize the commitment they have made. Here are our top six actions:
- Appoint and empower someone within the organisation to lead your Armed Forces community activities. Larger organisations may create a committee but either way the commitment will also need buy-in from the Senior Management Team.
- Have some clear goals. Some of this will come from the pledge you made at the time of signing up. For example, you may actively recruit former Forces’ personnel or encourage and accommodate Reservists training. You may be based near a large Armed Forces community and look to engage more within that community. And of course you may decide to select an Armed Forces charity as your charity of the year.
- Consider joining Cobseo. Cobseo is the Confederation of Service Charities and a great place to start if you’re looking to support Armed Forces charities. It has 200 members and each charity or organisation has to be approved to join so you know the charity you are choosing to support is relevant. Cobseo are in the process of launching a Coporate Membership to involve organisations serving the Armed Forces community more so this might be a perfect opportunity to understand the community’s needs.
- Supporting charities. This might sound an obvious one but there’s more to it than the odd fundraising event. Firstly, you need to pick one, which is tough as there are so many great causes within the community. Many organisations will steer towards the well-known and well established charities such as Help for Heroes or the Royal British Legion. Many of these charities are indeed grant making organisations so there’s a good chance your fundraising will filter down to smaller charities as well. Or you could choose to directly support a smaller charity and really make a substantial difference to their work– as DX and Tesco did with Scotty’s. Supporting a charity isn’t just about fundraising (although all donations are gratefully received!), there are plenty of ways your organisation can support a charity such as ours. DX designed three of their lorry trailers in Scotty’s Little Soldiers livery which helped raise awareness of the charity on Britain’s roads. Displaying posters, leaflets and information about the charity on staff noticeboards and websites helps encourage more individuals to volunteer or sign up to charity challenges. Sponsoring events or core costs/equipment can really help a growing charity and gives your brand some recognition at the same time. Why not sign up a team of colleagues to one of our challenges? It’s a great way to team build, raise awareness and fundraise all at the same time.
- Whilst on the subject of awareness there are obviously some great PR opportunities for your organisation. Signing the Covenant in the first place is a strong story and adding the logos and messages of support to your website are all good for your CSR/image. Again, it’s what comes next that will really make a difference and communicating your success will not only show you are following up on your pledge, it will hopefully inspire other businesses to do the same and raise the profile of the Covenant and any charities you are supporting at the same time.
- Finally, why not get involved in Armed Forces Day? Held every year with events taking place all over the country it’s an opportunity to fundraise and publically show your support for the Armed Forces. You can read more about AFD here.
You can read more about signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant here or find out about the work of Scotty’s Little Soldiers (new website coming in September!) by clicking here.